Back pain is one of the most common types of pain adults suffer from. Back pain is so common, it is estimated up to 90 percent of people will develop it at some point in their lifetime, according to University of Illinois, McKinley Health Center. Back pain may be chronic or acute and has several causes, such as trauma, repetitive movements, poor lifting techniques or bad posture. Although medical attention may be needed in some cases, there are also several home remedies, which may help relieve back pain. In addition to over the counter pain medication, try some of the following home remedies for back pain.
Get A New Mattress
Sleeping on an old mattress or one with little support can take a toll on your back. If you have back pain, getting a new mattress may be one way to reduce discomfort. Not only can getting a new mattress reduce pain, but it may also improve sleep, which promotes healing.
Massage can help reduce many types of pain including back pain. Massage helps back pain in a few different ways. As the area is massaged, it helps improve circulation, which can reduce discomfort. It also promotes the release of endorphins in the brain, which are believed to block pain receptors.
Work Your Core
The root of back pain is sometimes a weak core. The core is considered the muscles around your trunk and pelvis. Developing strong core muscles helps reduce back injuries and teaches proper spine alignment, according to Spine Universe. The best way to work your core is by doing exercises that incorporate all the different abdominal muscles. Exercises, such as abdominal crunches and planks are good choices. Regular core work about three to four times a week is optimal.
An easy and often effective way to treat back pain at home is with heat. According to the National Institutes of Health, heat should be applied about 48 hours after the initial injury. Apply a hot compress or heating pad to the area affected for about 20 minutes, a few times a day. Heat helps by increasing circulation to the area and by decreasing pain messages sent from the brain.
Stretch Your Hamstrings
Tight hamstrings, which are the muscles on the back of the thighs, can lead to stress on your back, especially the lower back. A few minutes of stretching the hamstrings twice a day can reduce stress on the back and may decrease back pain. Stretches should be held for about 45 seconds and should never cause pain.
[Related: 10 Common Causes Of Backaches And Pain]
Adding Epsom salt to a warm bath is an easy home remedy, which may help decrease back pain. Epsom salt decreases pain by reducing inflammation and swelling. Add about two or three cups of Epsom salt to your bath and relax in the tub for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Wear A Supportive Back Brace
Wearing a back brace to provide support may help reduce back pain and prevent further stress on your back. The type of brace, which works best, depends on the activities you are doing. For example, lower back braces may work if you are involved in lifting activities.
Practice Good Posture
Poor posture and bad lifting techniques can often lead to back pain. If you find yourself sloughing while sitting at your desk or bending at the hips when you lift something heavy, you may later find yourself with an aching back. Always bend at the knees when lifting. Pay attention to how you are sitting and standing. Avoid arching your back or slumping your shoulders, which both can contribute to back pain.
Doctors used to think, rest was best for treating back pain, but research has shown too much rest may actually slow recovery and weaken muscles. While it is a good idea to continue to move around, avoid activities, which increase back pain, such as lifting or vigorous exercise. The key is to balance resting a sore back while still remaining active.
Ice has long been used to treat various types of pain including back pain. Ice works best when it is applied within the first 48 hours of a back injury or the onset of pain. Apply a cold compresses or an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the painful area for up to 15 minutes three or four times a day. Ice can help decrease back pain by decreasing inflammation.
Many times, back pain is only a minor problem and can successfully be treated with at home remedies; however, there are instances where a visit to your doctor is advisable. If pain persist for more than three days even with home treatments or is getting worse, you should call your doctor. Anytime back pain is accompanied by redness on the back, numbness in the legs or weakness a trip to your doctor is needed.